irkutsk27 december 2004
last day in novosibirsk was C O L D. the temperature went down to -29 just before we left the sinking ship for irkutsk. but i liked novosibirsk.
the ballet was amazing. me and oscar celebrated with a big glass of champagne in the foaye for a dollar / glass be fore the show. a price i consider quite appealing. the ballet was actually two different plays. we didn’t know. the first was about a man and his castle where he kept lots of prisoners. when he left the castle, someone unlocked the prison and out jumped 20 dancing prisoners, free and happy, jump jump dance dance. it was amazing! then the king came home and killed everyone. what a cliffhanger, we thought during the pause because we didn’t realise it was over because we thought it was just half time. when we the play started again it was a bit too different and we couldn’t really connect with the old one and realised it was a new one. i wasn’t really up for another story (well it was no story, just dance) so i fell asleep for a while and woke up ready to watch the final 20 minutes, which was really good. after that astonishing performance we had to eat something fancy! and sure we did. found a chinese/japanese (we just can’t wait!) where we had some delicious food (it was ok) before we headed back to the train station…
…where we shared the last minutes in novosibirsk with a weirdo in his early twenties. his english was perfect and he told us he was from the scientific town outside novosibirsk. it’s a town they moved all the super smart people to during the sovjet times so they could study and invent new weapons and products. like a small elite city. in their grocery stores they had more exclusive and interesting food and products than in the rest of russia, just for the smart! since he was crazy i believed him. he also told us he’d been to a nut house in kazakhstan but escaped. he also was talking about sometime when he was in minnesota and met some swedish lady called gun. yeah he was a weirdo allright.
arrived irkutsk this morning after a 24hr ride sharing coupe with a police officer (according to him) heading home to irkutsk after a week in egypt. he was too nice so we got a bit suspicious. is this man crazy, we thought. but maybe we are just not used to nice people anymore, people in the western world are different. or was he crazy? anyway, he offered us a ride to the lake bajkal and all sorts of things. but when we arrived to irkutsk this morning he just disappeared! but we have his number. i might call him later.
today i left my wallet on the train. i didn’t realise it until i was going to pay for visa registration at the hotel. no wallet in my pocket. damn! it’s still under my pillow on the train! that was not good. i could tell on the expression on oscars face it wasn’t. so i told the lady who owned the hotel (which is called ”american house”) about it and she called her grand daughter who had been on exchange to the US last year (they were rotary members) and told her to come to the station and help me find my wallet. no one speaks english in russia so i wouldn’t be able to find it. after a long wait she arrived to the station and we went to ask for the wallet. and YES!!! they had it! and i got it!
i am not sure how happy oscar was about the whole situation, but i think it was good it happened because then the girl took us on sightseeing in the central parts of irkutsk starting with a (finally!!) traditional russian restaurant where i had borsch, bajkal lake fish and some blini with honey. yum yum. oscar had three pieces of meat.
i think we are leaving to ulan bataar on thursday maybe. we’ll see.
now it’s time for another meal. i am starving!